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Saturday, 17 February 2007

nostalgia

Of course I am nostalgic like most bloggers. Sometimes it’s just a long memory that brings you down here.. or takes me up there. My earliest memory is around my ancestral home in Kerala – God’s own country [ruled by devils – don’t ask me why I hate communists ;)].


Today the house is very different from then - but my memories run clear through those old corridors – I can almost recreate an auto cad version of the entire house’s old plan in my memory. The most wonderful thing about the house’s old plan was that it had random rooms interconnected to every other room - a common hall [actually two], a pooja room that had so many things [ideal place to play hide n seek], a long kitchen which had firewood storage and a large pantry where raw bananas hung until ripe.

I have played my hearts full in this home as a child. Outside the kitchen there was a corridor that had wooden pillars. I remember swinging and jumping from one pillar to the other absolutely like a monkey. Outside this corridor was the well –so deep that even kuttampilla, our estate watchman could not get down there if something fell in. Between the well and the kitchen there ran metal wire lines that held smelly rubber sheets to dry. There were plenty of storage space for grains and other produces like coconut, ginger, yams, plantain etc. There was also a cow-shed that had no cows since milma came to town. it used to store fertilizers and other oddly smelling things. Adjacent to the shed was the smoke room for the rubber sheets to tan until black! The next two rooms were a bath and a toilet for outsiders and helpers.

And if you ran down the slop between the kitchen and the well you would reach the backyard – grandmom’s lush kitchen garden. Beyond the garden was the cliff edge of the whole plot that over looked a petrol pump down below on the national highway – beyond that you could spot plenty of hills, lush green trees, winding roads up hill and panoramic view of the town dotted with the electricity tower lines that were used by the cawing black ravens to pause and jump off to the sky in groups.

Five kilometers from the house was our estate - rubber plantation by the lake side that was cashew grove before grand dad realised the potential of rubber. The most attractive thing about spending vacation with grandparents was this latch-on trip to the estate in pappa's 'ash' ambassador – one trip in the morning and one afternoon.

Our maman [maternal uncle] was our guide and best friend those days – our hero - who would take us all around the town in grandpa’s car. The estate’s huge gate had 'chandra' etched on it. It flung open to a never-never land with pin drop silence – a place wr the trees spoke in eerie silence and we could spot plenty of nameless birds. The drive from the gate to the car shed was over a kilo meter - it was a steep and winding slop down the hill – the car rolled down with the engine switched off. Sometimes the crickets' chorus would be deafeningly loud and kuttampilla would look up squinting his eyes to predict ‘it is about to rain’ or say 'today its going to be very hot - no clouds'.

I remember vividly catching small insects and wickedly float them on colocasia leaves – bidding them good bye  [utterly insane and dramatic] imitating how maman would ‘go my friend - find the new shore!

My little sister was on the heavier side those days and I was pencil thin – so petite that my granma used to rag me calling names - my dear stick insect u must eat more to be visible. She used to love calling me all sorts of names including a weird one - ‘my little pocket edition’. I was found dragging my sister everywhere I thought we had to play. We were the perfect laurel and hardy duo. As I was hyper active I cud not wait for anything for long - my sister had no choice but to move before I got into a rotten mood. I couldn’t stop running, climbing, hunting for more fun. I hope now she forgives me for all those days - of course she must have – those were our true days of bonding. She has grown up to a fine lady today and is a super active adult who keeps a close watch on my inch wise growth to the sides and drives me mad – to keep running to keep fit. Far away from my ancestral home that is nestled in nature’s bounty, I run in a well maintained park’s rubberised runner’s track. Jogging down the memory lane is a refreshing habit when the mundane bugs you. I feel lucky I can close my eyes and land myself in an auto-cad like vision of a place I love so much – thank you almonds for keeping my long memories fresh and sound!



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